Valley of Fire State Park
An hour (and change) away from the Las Vegas strip, Valley of Fire State Park is totally worth sacrificing AM day drinking to explore for a few hours before heading back to Fremont Street and getting trashy.
Besides a few buses of Boy Scouts, Valley of Fire felt largely like I had the place to myself. I stopped by the visitor's center, got a brochure, and drove around for an hour or two and was not disappointed. These views spoil!
If you're still feeling adventurous, venture an hour and twenty minutes towardish/eastish of Las Vegas and stop at the Hoover Dam. After you stop, it's a 45 minute straight shot back to downtown Vegas.
Hot Mess Tips
- Budget 2 hours 15 minutes for the round trip to Valley of Fire State Park from the Las Vegas strip and then spend all the time while you're there driving around and looking for neat spots. Being directionless is no problem because you'll be surrounded by beauty and many rock formations are a short hike away (half a mile or less) or you can park right by them.
- To include the Hoover Dam, add 1 hour and 15 minutes to the itinerary for travel. There is a free one-hour Hoover Dam tour to those who plan on visiting during the day.